Kool name that to be fair. How was I ever not going to open the file with a name as good as that? But hey don’t even bother searching for their Facebook profile or their Instagram pics of them with cats and dogs n booze n birds coz you know it’s not ever there right? Right!
Sixteen snotty fucked off punk rock tracks for your delectation with minimal mix, no autotune, no studio trickery just blistering stabs of short and sweet punk rock that’s what Kool & The Gang Bangers offer at the altar of Punk Rock.
‘Night Of The Living Deadbeats’ is the Ramones playing Dead Boys it’s as simple as that kids and if you’re looking for the ray of sunshine I guess you won’t find it on ‘Hate Your Guts’ or ‘This City Sucks’ nor are you finding a rainbow on the snotty ‘Full Of Shit’. However, you can pogo and you can chew on the inside of your gums whilst shaking your head along to the beat, that’ll comfort you.
These Swedish punks have got a natty line in raw riffola and catchy lyrics but it’ll take a few plays to tune into the lyrics so low down in the mix they are on times but that’s perfect for the attitude and it doesn’t take a lot of concentration to get into each song seeing as almost everyone is under one and a half minutes from start to finish ‘Drag Me Around’ even has a spot on guitar solo. But wait ‘Rats Crawl Back’ tips over the two-minute barrier almost the perfect TOTP length but that’s never going to happen (mores the pity). Hang up the phone reminds me of when The Hives kicked off with a good hook over a repetitive riff ‘cept this is far more punk rock.
’15 Minutes Of Pain’ starts on the bass and to be honest I wasn’t even sure there was one on there previously such was the raw lo-fi racket being kicked up. The album saves the best til last as ‘I Hate The World’ wraps up proceedings. I might leave it an hour before hitting repeat I might go out and pick some flowers or run through a field just to prove that it’s not all bad maybe I’ll cwtch a puppy or feed some birds then when I’ve had a tit full of being nice I’ll play some more ‘Feel Bad Music’. Maybe you should too.
Since their 2018 masterpiece ‘Here Come…’ Tommy and the gang have been knocking out their impressive Hooligan pop. I like that, I like that a lot and I like Tommy & The Commies a lot as well and they play Hooligan pop for sure, its a perfect genre for their sound and captures what it is they do to a tee.
‘Hurtin’ 4 Certain’ is their time capsule to the global lockdown and kicks the shit outta any blues one might have for normal life being put into quarantine for the time being. The opening track whilst the inevitable comparisons to Buzzcocks and The Jam ring out and so they should there is a real vintage Undertones clang happening here as well. It’s like Tommy has slipped on some magical snorkel jacket and in the pocket there’s a magical mixtape to those that paved the way back in the ’70s & ’80s. but if you’re going to start your EP off with intent then ‘Hurtin 4 Certain’ is a bloody barnstormer.
‘Impulse Action’ is a snotty pogo with a chorus you want to punch the air too and lace up your martins and turn up the volume this is a blast. From the Gatlin gun guitar chords being churned out the gang vocals are easy to remember and a lot of fun. ‘Power On Standby’ has a bit of a mod vibe about it imagine walking into a house party in Brighton in the ’60s and these goons are holding court in the backroom and ‘Power On Standby’ is churning the room as sweaty bodies cut loose. Great stuff! This EP is shaking off any cobwebs or misery a pandemic can leave after three months.
Finally taking this bad boy home is the juddering riffola of ‘One Arch Town’ and I’m hearing early gen X going on as the song unfolds towards the chorus it’s a beautiful thing hearing a bunch of hooligans kick up a shit storm of Rock and Roll like this. sure it’s nothing new and it’s not groundbreaking but you know what? Sometimes, it’s nice to just kick out the jams motherfuckers and this hooligan pop lark has got me a buzzin’ Check em out they deserve that much at least.
The story of the RATBOYS goes back to the summer of 2008. In epic Def Lepard and Guns N Roses lengths of recording breaks, The Ratboys have taken their time between albums to let the first one breathe haha!
Truth is the band fell apart and it took them until 2017 for Vincenzo and Eric St John to reboot the RATBOYS. With little success at first until finally in early 2019 guitar slinger James and new drummer Reno entered the pictures.
Within a couple of weeks the sophomore album “Click” was recorded and, like the first album, it was mixed by the one and only Pierre Vervloesem. Proceedings get underway with their homage to the one and only Ramones with ‘Everybody Loves The Ramones’ which is a fair statement and using ever Ramoneclone trick in the book voila! a song is born. The retro crunch of ‘Swimming With The Sharks’ is more of the same to be fair with familiar Ramone like melodies its uptempo but with a mixture of Sweet glam thrown in for good measure which is the MO for the album I guess with various degrees of separation from the likes of The Heartbreakers and other sleazy Rock and Rollas thrown into the mix at various junctures.
‘Listen Closely To Your Heart’ has that johnny and Walter trade-off going on which is never a bad thing at all. The band change gears throughout the album with songs like ‘Summer School girl’ being more power pop and laid back it adds the classic power-pop jangle whilst ‘Stand Up And Fight’ is straight outta The Boys songbook with added attitude and a bit of a kick.
After a brief venture through Motor City territory, we end up at ‘The Golden Age Of Trash’ and one of the best tracks on the album as the band stray off the power-pop path and take a trip through the mid ’70s Mott like glam which makes for a really good tune. They introduce a swirling keyboard to proceedings on penultimate track ‘Leave Me No Choice’.
Whilst it doesn’t break new ground its a really solid album blending all the components I love from power pop to punk rock to ’70s glam its great to hear bands like the Ratboys kick out the jams and I hope they continue to evolve and hope its not another decade or two before they follow this one up.
Nick Marsh was known best as founding member of ’80s Goth Rockers Flesh for Lulu, singing lead vocals and playing guitar on hits like ‘I Go Crazy’ and ‘Postcards from Paradise’. He was also a vital ingredient in the Urban Voodoo Machine’s “bourbon-soaked gypsy blues”, Perhaps the perfect foil for Frontmany Paul-Ronny Angel his cool smoldering guitar licks added a fine blend of quality and panache. Sadly, all that had gone before was brought crashing to a halt as Nick battled with illness. Tragically Nick died of cancer in 2015, He left the world this celebrated musical legacy and in 2010 he released the dark classic record that was ‘A Universe Between Us’, his much-loved solo debut.
Now a decade later we get the treat that is ‘Waltzing Bones’. Produced and co-arranged by his partner and musical collaborator Katharine Blake (Mediaeval Baebes and Miranda Sex Garden), the album includes tracks that were fully formed before Nick’s death as well as some that Katharine crafted around Nick’s vocals and his core melodies in a way she believes he would have liked.
The album features her vocal and instrumental contributions, as well as those of a stellar cast of some of the finest friends and musicians including David Ryder Prangley (Rachel Stamp), Ray Hanson (Thee Hypnotics), Nick Reynolds (Alabama 3), Paul-Ronney Angel (The Urban Voodoo Machine), Jim Jones (The Jim Jones Review and Thee Hypnotics), Clifford Slapper (Bowie Songs One) and Charlie Cawood (Mediaeval Baebes).
Waltzing Bones is eleven songs that soundtrack the late nights from the opening ‘Masquerade’ with its spiraling piano rolls on the intro its a perfect Nick Marsh track that’s painting landscapes with his softly hushed lyrics. Like a fine accompanying red wine, it’s a faint hint of the smoldering ashtray as the skies break and a clear twinkling of stars smile in the black night, it’s a beautiful opener that’s for sure. Real hair on the back of one’s neck stood to attention moment.
That panoramic widescreen feel was always one of Marsh’s fortes and even on the Hits, there was a grande world view like a chic Cannes flick as opposed to a popcorn Westend multiplex vibe it’s always been sophisticated subtitled black and white or sepia tones.
Blakes soaring vocals are the perfect foil for Marsh’s hushed style is a wonderful thing on ‘Gotta Run’. It’s sometimes a worry when a recording is posthumously released but this is a joy, a real pleasure the wheeze box and horns of ‘Somma Ma Friends’ and its Jazzy vibe remind me of some of Daniel Ash’s work but I’d rather have some vocals if I’m honest. The western desert-like feel of ‘Temptation’ is a chance for Marsh to pull off his best Barroom croon. ‘The Day It Rained Forever’ could have fallen off the Suicide Twins Album or a lost Tom Waits album minus the bourbon-soaked piano top. In contrast, the guitar amps are turned up to Bolan Boogie levels for ‘Crazy Eyes’.
‘Spider Woman’ is more of that old jazz then the ‘Shiny Void’ is an epic six-minute nylon strung and hushed soundscapes kinda’ tune. Which only leaves the title track to sign of this marvelous piece of work. I don’t think Marsh ever made a bad record and I’m sure he’d be proud to have this released in his name at time beautiful, often tinged with sadness but always exceptional. Thanks to all involved there is a star that will shine brightly in the night sky every time I pour a red and toast the unique talent with another spin of this album. Buy It!
Earlier this week this all new nine track album from Portland Oregon’s Lovesores hit me completely out of the blue like some virtual hammer blow to the head, for three very differing reasons.
Firstly, cranking this baby up via Bandcamp I noticed I somehow totally missed their 2018 Thee Slayer Hippy produced ‘Gods of Ancient Grease’ album, yup I know that’s an epic fail on my part, especially as I had everything the band had released up to that point.
Then secondly, I check in with the band’s singer Scott Drake on Facebook only to see him sharing the news that Lovesores had split up and ‘Bats From Planet Skull’ would be their last record. Unless it made the band millionaires, then, and only then might they do one more…but only one!
Finally, there’s the all-important music that these guys produce. This is music that makes me recall a time when music lovers and musicians alike weren’t hell bent on being part of some here today gone today scene and we just went to gigs irrespective of genres simply because we loved the bands. Remember those halcyon days? Well opener ‘Some For Tomorrow (Some For Tonight)’ is a classic example of this – it’s like someone has just taken the stiletto sharp street spirit of The Cramps and the spit and sawdust savagery of Nashville Pussy put them in a blender alongside generous helpings of The Humpers back catalogue and the result immediately has me bouncing off the walls. Something that shows no signs of letting up for album’s twenty something minutes run time.
Highlights? Well, each of the nine tracks is a cold-blooded punk rock ‘n’ roll killer, but if I were forced to single out a few tunes of particular note then I would have to say that the nine pint swagger of ‘Belle In The Belfry’ (think Harrington Saints minus the hardcore influence and you won’t be too far away) coupled with insanely catchy ‘Bishop Of Worms’ which cleverly twists Smokey Robinson into the type of horn driven punk rock stomper that RFTC once excelled in writing, are immediate stand outs.
In some ways ‘Bats From Planet Skull’ reminds me of Spermbirds awesome ‘Go To Hell And Turn Left’ from just last year. That LP also appeared out of nowhere and blew all comers out of the water, and believe when I say it will take a lot to top this record for sheer unbridled low-slung guitar rock ‘n’ roll joy in 2020. Oh, and whilst I remember in ‘Hot Pants’ the band have penned perhaps the unintentional anthem for this summer, should we ever be allowed out of ours houses that is.
‘Bats From Planet Skull’ is available digitally right now via the Bandcamp link at the bottom of this review. It’s also up as a “name your price” download, so even if you are struggling for cash right now you can still get to hear this fantastic blast of punk rock music at a budget to suit you.
Go fill your Chelsea boots brothers and sisters and don’t forget to tell Scott that RPM sent you. Let’s make Lovesores millionaires so he then has to get the band back together for one more record, because the joyous racket that the Lovesores make is just sooooooo damn fine!!!
I’ve always enjoyed Faz Waltz, but considered them the kid brothers to Giuda’s bang-on blend of glam riffs and muscular tunes. But, hey, it’s been a weird couple of years. While Giuda remain kings of the live stage, their last album was a tad patchy. I enjoyed some of the 80s flavoured songs, but it didn’t gel. This was the ideal time for Faz, Diego and Marco to show us what they’ve got.
While the sun is shining, no one feels too groovy about it, but this is going to brighten your day. Faz Waltz have brought their A game. You may have heard ‘Grown Up Guy’ and ‘Rebel Kicks’ already. The latter pounds the piano like Elton in ’74, and is almost as entertaining. Some bands don’t want to be image conscious, which I find puzzling, but the majority of songs here do the talking without the glam threads.
There’s no shortage of addictive riffs. ‘Got Me Goin’ tips a nod at an up tempo ‘Cmon Feel The Noize’, while ‘Broken Teeth’ has the edge of Mott’s ‘One Of The Boys’, before the Slade drumbeat drops in. ‘Rock N Roll Is Tough’ and ‘Born In The Wrong Time’ are very similar straight ahead rockers, one too many, perhaps. But, I imagine it’s perfect for a long drive with the windows down.
The two slower songs are amongst the highlights. ‘Do You Remember?’ namechecks T Rex, with appropriate backing vocals and a lilting piano somewhere between Bolan and Slade. ‘Heroes And Ghosts’ opts for the acoustic approach, and is a short, tender song.
My favourites so far are ‘Fighting On The Dancefloor’, which sounds like the Rubettes after one Watney’s Red Barrel too many, and ‘Is It Love?’, which ends the album on a Glitter Band beat and cracking melody.
Available on pink, white or black vinyl from the band’s Facebook page. No CD, as yet. Once we can actually get outside, it could be the soundtrack to the summer.
By 1980 the UK’s finest purveyors of ‘erbert rock Sham 69 were all but a spent force. Singer Jimmy Pursey having long since become disillusioned with Sham chose the start of a new decade and the release of the band’s fourth album (‘The Game’) as a platform from which to announce his intentions to pursue a solo career (by way of a previously failed attempt to team up with Steve Jones and Paul Cook as Sham Pistols in 1979). Thus, leaving the remaining Sham members Dave Parsons (guitar), Dave Tregunna (bass) and (drummer) Rick (Goldstein) Rock singer-less and wondering what the hell to do next.
Quickly hooking up with (ex-The Dead Boys) frontman Stiv Bators (I’ll not share the story here of how this came about as the excellent Dave Parsons penned sleeve notes included in this reissue pick up on the finer detail) The Wanderers were soon born and signing to (Sham’s old label) Polydor they were dispatched to write and record what would become their one and only album ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’.
Having long since been out of print on any format (copies of the original LP and the reissue CD are currently going for around £40 online) and as such deemed very much a “collector’s item” amongst fans ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is thankfully now being given a long overdue reissue on vinyl (pressed up on a variety of random colours) by US label Gutterwail Records. I myself finally picked up a CD copy (released via Captain Oi! here in the UK) over a decade ago at Rebellion Festival for the princely sum of £5 and it’s still very much one of those go to albums in my collection, when someone asks that well-worn conundrum of “what band do you think should have been huge but never actually made it?”
Expanded here to fourteen tracks and finally including the (rumoured to be) lost track ‘They Made Me A Criminal’ which bizarrely had its lyrics printed on the original Polydor LP sleeve but was never included in the final track listing, this reissue offers up the chance for a whole new generation of fans to experience perhaps the definitive version of this much overlooked “cult classic”.
Sounding not unlike a poppier version of the band Bators and Tregunna would go on to form just a few years later it’s the Mick Glossop production on ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ that immediately has me wondering if had been building himself up for the bass and drums onslaught he would bestow on Waysted’s classic ‘Vices’ album just a few years later, as here it’s the keyboards and trebly edge on cuts like ‘It’s All The Same’ and the parp-tastic ‘A Little Bit Frightening’ that tend to catch the ear.
In fairness (keyboards aside) the same production does give the album a kind of “timeless” charm and cuts like the Sham Boys crescendo of opener ‘No Dreams’, the glorious two minute pogo-pop overload of ‘Beyond The Law’ plus the superb proto Lords punks of ‘Ready To Snap’ all have me wondering what it would have been like to have seen The Wanderers live with the energy levels cranked to the max. Likewise the likes of ‘Sold Your Soul For Fame’, ‘It’s All The Same’ and the aforementioned (faithfully restored from cassette) ‘They Made Me A Criminal’ add a depth and maturity to the songwriting that belies the band’s fledgling tenure.
I’m not entirely sure where the source of this reissue was taken from but my promo MP3s feature a couple of light pops and crackles – something that the Captain Oi! CD never had – and this makes me think it must have been taken from the original vinyl or perhaps the promo itself is a rip from a re-pressed LP? Either way, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ is an excellent album, and is most certainly one every self-respecting fan of Sham 69 and The Lords Of The New Church should have in their collection.
‘The Time Has Come To Rock & Roll’, so proclaimed New York punk ‘n’ rollers Wyldlife back in 2013. Now in 2020, they find themselves still rock ‘n’ rolling with their fourth long player. Following hot on the tails of 2016’s ‘Out On Your Block’, ‘Year Of The Snake’ is the band’s second album on the ever cool Wicked Cool Records label. Owned by the legend that is Steven Van Zandt, Wicked Cool Records has brought us quality albums from the likes of Ryan Hamilton, Jesse Malin and Kurt Baker over the past few years.
Recorded at Little Steven’s very own Renegade Studios in NYC, the album title is taken from the Chinese year of the snake; 1989, the year that band mates Dave Feldman (vocals), Sam Allen (guitar), and Spencer Alexander (drums)were born. ‘Year Of The Snake’ is everything you want from a Wyldlife record and more. The spirit of NY punk flows through these boys veins. From the early years, when Ramones and The Dolls were treading the boards of CBGB’S, to the late 90’s when D Generation ruled the underground, they have it all. But its more than just cool shoes and leather jackets, you have to have the rock ‘n’ roll minerals to stand out from the crowd, and Wyldlife prove they have it in spades.
Opener ‘Deathbed’ comes on with the anthemic bravado usually reserved for the likes of Green Day in their prime. Featuring a melody you will swear down you’ve heard before. It grabs you from the off, a musical crockpot of low slung riffage and high energy melodies guaranteed to give goosebumps and raise hopes in equal measures.
Quick as a flash, before you have even had time to pick your jaw up off the floor it’s over, and we’re into first single ‘Neon Nightmare’. This… this is the rock ‘n’ roll sound I need in my life right now. High energy, upbeat and catchy as fuck. Also, it’s the perfect escape from the nightmare that is reality right now.
Two tracks in and its pretty safe to say vocalist Dave Feldman and guitarist Sam Allen have my full attention with their songwriting antics. You could say their themes of paranoia, anxiety and bad relationships are par for the course in 2020, well now Wyldlife add the soundtrack. With the spirit of Hanoi Rocks and the power pop suss of The Replacements, Wyldlife run though 11 tracks of highly essential rock ‘n’ roll.
Highlights are plentiful. ‘Kiss and Tell’ rides on tribal beats and Ramones chords as it builds to yet another catchy chorus that’ll surely incite air guitar and hairbrush vocal action in bedrooms and living rooms the world over. The radio friendly ‘Automatic’ is the albums curve ball, a song that hits right in the feels. Inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain, it’s a song written by the frontman about a girl he knows who works in a florist shop. With lush, indie pop melodies, female backing vocals and lyrics full of sentiment, its pure power pop goodness coming on like Squeeze meets Fountains Of Wayne and that’s a good place to be.
The fast and furious ‘Sacre Bleu’ is as punk as fuck. Spiky, high energy bursts of noise, think Hives meets Randy and you’ll get close. Sam’s chord bashing matches the frantic drums as Dave spits vocals with the venomous antics of a snake. This and the aforementioned ‘Automatic’ couldn’t be further apart in sound but they are fired from the same Wyldlife gun and both definitely hit the spot.
An overly familiar riff takes the title track into orbit as it builds to a relentless, killer refrain that pummels the senses. Gang vocals and guitars are the order of the day as the likes of ‘Tulsa Superstar’ and ‘Keeping Up With CT’ marry the power pop goodness of The Replacements and The Exploding Hearts with urgent beats, swathes of Hammond and Johnny Thunders licks, very nice indeed.
As I write these words New York is the hardest hit city in the world as far as the Coronavirus goes. No one could’ve predicted this turn of events and no one knows what the future holds for live music or our favourite bands. All we can do is be grateful that albums this good are still coming our way and do our best to help by buying albums, merch to help support the bands we love and the music they create.
2020 will be remembered as the year of the virus, but I also hope it will be remembered by the cool cats as the year Wyldlife gave us ‘The Year Of The Snake’. Essential listening, buy or die punks!
Their first album in almost 30 years, since releasing 1991’s World Outside and splitting up soon after. Reuniting early on in the Millenium, existing as a touring entity only, I was genuinely surprised to hear that the band had signed an album deal as I always assumed there was no appetite to record new material. With the bands last commercial peak being 1987s Midnight to Midnight they were seemingly destined to remain a nostalgia act spending a majority of their time on the road in the U.S.
A strong opener in “The Boy Who Invented Rock & Roll”, a great layer of brooding synth showing growth in their song output and even having a bit of a Dark Wave element. “Don’t Believe” is the established first single released back in January. It really sits in the foundations of classic non-pop Furs, which makes recent single “You’ll Be Mine” even more of a disappointment. It’s a limp number at best.
“Wrong Train” kicks off like a New Order football jingle though quickly detours into a bitter-sweet, epic confessional. Speaking of pills, car crashes and turmoil amid filthy guitar and sax duels. An absolute stand out track. The only low here being when it finally ends, though “This’ll Never Be Like Love” drags you into a somewhat beautiful pit of despair. The track really does hark back to the sound of their last two (criminally overlooked) albums.
“Ash Wednesday” has the same level of brood, but at over 5 minutes it never really goes anywhere and it’s a bit much to take. It’s the same case for “Come All Ye Faithful”, trying to be direct and edgy but coming across very much like filler material. “No-One” thankfully grabs us by the scruff of the neck and puts us back on course, giving us Richards Butler’s dark cacophony of lamenting croons.
“Tiny Hands” is very American rock radio commerciality straight out of the gates. It’s not terribly unpleasant, just very questionable production. The production here is provided by former member Richard Fortus (G’N’R fame). Not slighting Fortus’s role here, though I am disappointed the band didn’t go with someone who potentially could of put them to work. Someone with a similar background such as Flood or Alan Moulder?
“Hide The Medicine”, a very dreamy number that builds and builds but ends very abruptly almost as if it had never even begun? “Turn Your Back On Me” has really grown on me after several listens, revealing itself as a subtle but epic number. Album finisher “Stars” rolls in. Another dreamy composition, building in parts, taking us to a collage of sounds, distorted guitars and synths melding together only to disappear bluntly. A surprising track to place at the end, not really giving much as a send off.
Overall the album is a bit of a mixed bag. Not a classic but certainly not disappointing. My lingering thoughts only that I hope they try their hand at another release sooner rather than later. Definitely seek out this new album but be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.
Seb Byford (guitar/vocals) and Tom Witts (drums) formed Naked Six while still at school to a backdrop of fog and mist on the North Yorkshire moors. The self-proclaimed grunge/schizoid blues band have been on our rock ‘n’ roll radar for a number of years following gigs with the likes of The Virginmarys and The Temperance Movement. Originally a York based band they recently relocated to Manchester, following the release of their debut EP ‘No Compromise’. They then roped in Tom’s cousin Callum to play bass, and now the three piece band are ready to take on the world with their debut album ‘Lost Art Of Conversation’.
They may be a long way from Seattle and a generation after the Grunge movement, but that same feeling of isolation, working class struggle and small town angst is omnipresent in their sound and high energy live performance.
Naked Six specialise in 2 chord/2 minute blasts of high energy angst, delivered with the passion of newbies who have something to prove and yet the confidence of seasoned pros. A top notch production job courtesy of Thomas Mitchener (Gallows/Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes ) only helps to capture their live energy. Urgent beats, buzzsaw guitars and vocals are spat with the aggro nonchalance of young punks who have something to say. And yeah, Naked Six do have something to say, lyrically they touch on highly topical subjects; our reliance on social media and mental health for starters.
The likes of ‘Song Of The City’, ‘Split’ and ‘Sticky Gum’ are their bread and butter. Coming on like The Vines meets The Virginmarys, this is the sound of a Naked Six gig captured on wax for all to experience. Elsewhere, if you had told me ‘Poison Apple’ was a lost Nirvana outtake, I would’ve tipped my hat in agreement. From the erratic spiky guitars to the spooky Cobain/Grohl style vocal harmonies, its quality stuff.
They take things down for a more 90s art rock, tripped-out vibe with ‘The Change’. Offbeat drums and effect-ridden guitars bring to mind the sonic sound of Perry Farrell’s side project Porno For Pyros, as the band take the listener on a trip to another plane.
Bouncy, distorted bass and jagged guitars introduce first single ‘Gimme Something’, a song that confirms the Foo Fighters meets Royal Blood comparisons I have used in the past. A confident and cocksure sound, and one that’s tried and tested.
While Naked Six promote a grungy, garage rock sound, there are hints that this band has the potential to be so much more when they think outside the box (or garage in this case!). The album is bookended by a couple of surprise tracks that confirm this for me. Album opener ‘21st Century Brawl’ is an atmospheric art piece, coming on like Jane’s Addiction in their prime, as Seb reels off descriptive lyrics, almost spoken word, over an alt rock backdrop of groovy bass and guitar harmonics. In complete contrast the introspective album closer ‘Outside Looking In’ showcases what this band is truly capable of. As they have proven in the past with ‘Broken Fairytale’, Seb Byford has a knack for penning heartfelt balladry as much as he does angst driven rock. The sentiment is real, as he delivers his most fragile, yet strongest vocal of the album over understated piano chords and atmospheric saxophone breaks. A winning combination that only helps accentuate the overall emotion of the song.
With lyrics that deal in social commentary, questioning our attachment to our screens, our actions and motives, and music that harks back to a time when the alternative was mainstream, edgy and downright essential, Naked Six seem to be on to a winner. ‘Lost Art Of Conversation’ is a modern rock record that is exciting, authentic and comes at the perfect time.
Times they are a changing, and while this album was of course written pre-lockdown, I can’t help but think the lost art of conversation is something a great deal of us are re-learning right now due to isolation and social media being our only form of communication.
“This is the dawn of a new age…” announces the singer in the title track. I wonder, did Seb Byford know how true those words would ring just a few months later?